When it comes to style I tend to live by the motto “the only rule is that there are no rules”. I wear white all year long, I carry a brown purse while wearing black shoes and essentially do whatever I please. Rules are meant to be broken, are they not? Still, personal style has an impact on all of us. Our clothes speak often before we even have the opportunity to open our mouths. So, even if you think fashion is vapid and clothes are a waste of time what you wear still says something.
I’m certainly not Rachel Zoe or Olivia Palermo. I like studying fashion and following the runways but I have worn my fair share of outfits that would have landed me on the “what not to wear” list. Luckily the paparazzi have yet to show up outside my door. Through trial and error I have cultivated a few fashion rules of my own. Looking like your best self means you shouldn’t wear clothes that make you feel like someone else. The clothes you wear should highlight you and help you to radiate confidence. In my experience the following “rules” provide a guideline for defining your own personal style.
9 Fashion Rules I live By:
1.If you really love something it never goes out of style.
While it’s true that bauble necklaces and acid wash denim are reminiscent styles of the past and belle sleeves will probably make us cringe five years from now, I firmly believe in dressing for yourself. Trends come and go but if you truly love something you can incorporate elements into your style no matter what the current fads designate. Incorporate items you truly love and your style will reflect your taste and unique personality.
2. Embrace your body type and learn to dress for it.
As much as I love willowy shapeless dresses they don’t work for my body type. I need a defined waist. I need a little shape or a little structure to highlight my best features and keep me from looking frumpy. Every body type is unique and learning to dress for your body type is truly life changing. You can start by reading a few great articles on what looks suit your body type (like this one and this one). If you’re completely lost on what to wear great tool to use is Amazon Outfit Compare-if you’re a Prime member you can get free on demand style advice, it’s a really cool technology that can give you advice on looks that really work for your body type.
As cool as it is to share a wardrobe with your bestie it’s important to understand that the styles that flatter your friends won’t always flatter you. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was considered a miraculous story for a reason!
3. Buy Clothes in your Size!
I’m guilty of buying a dress a size too big or a size too small when I’m desperate (ie. It’s the only one left, or it’s on sale). I almost ALWAYS regret this decision. My closet was filled with clothes that didn’t even fit me (I tend to buy pieces that are too big and thus look ridiculous). Clothes that fit your proportions make all the difference. If you’re tempted to buy a piece that is too big for you ask yourself if you’re willing to pay to have it tailored. If you aren’t pass on the item and choose something that fits instead.
The last thing you want is a closet full of clothes that squeeze tightly in all the wrong places or sloppily drape off of your frame.
4. Mix Trends with Timeless Staples.
The older I get the less I like the look of trends from head to toe for everyday wear. Sure ultra trendy looks are fun for a night out or special occasion but for day to day school and/or work clothes it’s nice to balance extreme trends with timeless basics. There isn’t a perfect recipe but I try to balance trendy pieces with basics. I might pair statement shoes with simple white jeans and a camel trench or a trendy dress with classic nude pumps and delicate jewelry. I tend to opt for subtler “trend pops” at the office and less conservative looks on the evenings and weekends. #Balance
5. Don’t be Afraid to take Risks.
Every once in awhile I’ll find myself feeling down on myself due to my style or the way I look. When you work in fashion (as I have in the past) or try to blog about fashion it’s almost inevitable that you won’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to all the other fashionistas out there once in awhile. When I find I’ve been down on myself and my clothes it’s because I’ve been taking fashion too seriously. Fashion should be fun and ultimately an expression of who you are! If you’re drawn to a bold lip in a funky color try it out! If you want to mix two crazy patterns or rock an extreme runway trend then you should do it! At the end of the day if you make a fool of yourself and look a little bit ridiculous what does it matter? All fashionistas are willing to take risks and look a little crazy once in awhile (just ask Carrie Bradshaw).
6. Pay attention to fabric and quality.
To save or to splurge? It’s the time old question we all battle internally when it comes to style. Do I buy an entire new Spring wardrobe at Forever 21 or one pair of Manolo Blahnik slides? As with all things there needs to be a happy medium. Assessing the quality of a garment is important as is knowing the lifespan of a piece you are purchasing. It’s not usually worth splurging on tees or fads but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a decent fabric that won’t fall apart after a single wear! I took a class in college all about textiles and have since changed my perspective on fast fashion. If you’re clueless about how to assess the quality of a garment I suggest this beginner’s guide.
Price does not determine quality on its own. There are plenty of high priced pieces of low quality and many modestly priced pieces that can stand the test of time.
7. Don’t feel pressured to try every trend.
You know when you see a trend in a magazine and think “Ew, really?” and then vow you’ll never wear it. Then suddenly it feels like everyone around you is wearing said trend and looking so fabulous and of the moment while you’re stuck in 2014? So you buy said trend and then quickly regret it because you look ridiculous and don’t feel like yourself? I’ve been there girl! I think we’ve all regretted a look or two (or you know a whole five year time span of your life). Some trends aren’t going to be for you and that’s okay! Even the most dedicated IT Girl knows when to pass on the choker necklaces or flatform sandals. You do you & don’t feel guilty about it for a single minute!
8. Don’t confine yourself to a single ‘style’.
What happens when half of you loves structured polka dot Kate Spade A-Line dresses and the other half of you longs for willowy Free People maxi dresses? Is there a place for both enamel bangles and layered festival-esque necklaces? I sure hope so! As much as you lean towards one style or another you should never feel trapped by a single “look”. If style is to represent your personality it’s only natural that your identity is multi-faceted. Let your style reflect who you are whether that is both sporty & preppy or minimalistic & girly. Mixing influences is one of the easiest ways to ensure you always look unique instead of like a carbon copy of the mannequin at J.Crew.
You don’t have to be Urban or Avant Garde, Bohemian or Feminine. Style definitions are meant to help you understand your style not confine you to a specific genre or look.
9. Search for inspiration!
One of the best ways to learn about style is to study it! Fashion is ever evolving with a rich history that encompasses art, culture and gender identity. One of the best parts about fashion is that it’s up to your interpretation- fashion can be utilitarian or it can be a form of artistic expression (for most of us it’s a little of both). Don’t be afraid of turning to outside resources for ideas and inspiration.
I love reading books about fashion and personally recommend the following for developing your own sense of style:Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, The Fashion Book, I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist and Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider’s View from Inside the Fashion Industry. For a textbook approach (that is visually gorgeous and intriguing) I like Survey of Historic Costume.
You can read online at WWD, Fashionista or Style (Vogue’s fashion website) to keep up on the latest trends and fashion news. It’s always fun to search Pinterest and your favorite fashion blogs to see how other people interpret trends and wear specific pieces.
Do you have any fashion rules that you live by? How do you define your personal style?